The global debate over who should take action to address climate change
is extremely precarious, as diametrically opposed perceptions of climate justice
threaten the prospects for any long-term agreement. Poor nations fear limits on
their efforts to grow economically and meet the needs of their own people, while
powerful industrial nations, including the United States, refuse to curtail their
own excesses unless developing countries make similar sacrifices. Meanwhile,
although industrialized countries are responsible for 60 percent of the greenhouse
gas emissions that contribute to climate change, developing countries suffer the
worst and first effects of climate-related disasters, including droughts, floods,
and storms, because of their geographical locations. In A Climate of
Injustice, J. Timmons Roberts and Bradley Parks analyze the role that
inequality between rich and poor nations plays in the negotiation of global climate
agreements.Roberts and Parks argue that global inequality dampens
cooperative efforts by reinforcing the structuralist worldviews and causal beliefs
of many poor nations, eroding conditions of generalized trust, and promoting
particularistic notions of fair solutions. They develop new measures of
climate-related inequality, analyzing fatality and homelessness rates from
hydrometeorological disasters, patterns of emissions inequality, and participation
in international environmental regimes. Until we recognize that reaching a
North-South global climate pact requires addressing larger issues of inequality and
striking a global bargain on environment and development, Roberts and Parks argue,
the current policy gridlock will remain unresolved.

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